Valencia's Andre Gomes (second from the right) celebrates with his teammates after scoring Los Che's first goal on Saturday night.
CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images
Valencia tightened their grip on fourth place in La Liga standings by beating Cordoba 2-1 thanks to a late-winner by Pablo Piatti.
Andre Gomes gave the visitors the lead towards the end of the first half but Nabil Ghilas levelled for the league’s bottom side in the 72nd minute, only for Piatti to put Valencia in charge again with nine minutes remaining.
This was a hard-fought but deserved victory for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, who have now won back-to-back away games for the first time this season, and picked up a third straight win. Cordoba meanwhile slumped to a fifth straight defeat and are five points from safety.
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It was an end-to-end first half. Valencia full-back Jose Luis Gaya provided the first shot of the game by sending the ball well over the bar and just a minute later Bebe flew forward for the hosts but was denied by the legs of Diego Alves.
The goalkeeper made another good save later in the half to keep out Abel Gomez’s volley, while Bebe had another go but this time his shot was deflected wide by a Valencia defender.
Valencia looked more dangerous when they went forward, however. Rodrigo Moreno came to within inches of opening the scoring seven minutes before the break, and a moment later Gomes did break the deadlock for the hosts.
Moreno brought the ball forward and slipped it to Rodrigo de Paul on the left of the box, and the forward sent a short cross to the far post where Gomes was unmarked and volleyed into the far corner.
The visitors improved in the second half and should have added to their lead, with Rodrigo, Piatti and substitute Alvaro Negredo all going close. But Cordoba then found themselves back in the game as they were awarded a penalty when Nicolas Otamendi was judged to have fouled Heldon Ramos, having made no contact with the ball. Ghilas was not intimidated by Alves’ astonishing record at saving penalties, and sent the Brazilian the wrong way to level.
But Valencia did not let their heads drop and were determined to score again. They nearly did so five minutes after conceding, but Negredo’s shot was turned away by Cordoba goalkeeper Mikel Saizar. But the stopper was far less impressive with dealing with Piatti’s shot a few minutes later.
Negredo leapt to meet a cross at the back post and headed it into the path of his Argentine team-mate, who hit the ball into the ground to send it bouncing high towards goal at a steady pace, but Saizar misjudged the bounce and scrambled towards the far post, failing to stop it creeping in.